Scholarship Awards, February 2008

This year, the award ceremony was held on February 9th, in the Cajamac auditorium.  This event was particularly important because it was attended by about 22 ex-Peace Corps volunteers, who had participated in a four day conference of remembrance in Cartagena after 26 years of absence from Colombia.

MFI welcomed Gigliane Meza Roa, Lenis Perez Buendia, Rafael Redondo Hernandez, Maolis Sanjuan Bossio, Orlando Tejeda Preciado, Victor Fernandez Oñate and Daniel Mendez Sabaye.  They replaced those who graduated last year and who have joined the working community.

At the ceremony, MFI awarded Friends of Colombia, represented by its president, Arleen Cheston, with a certificate of thanks.  FOC contributes about 32% of the scholarship fund and finances the Paso a Paso Program entirely.  Paso a Paso is administered by the Humanitarian and Community Development Organization, (Fundehumac) and it provides financial support to 25 children in elementary and secondary schools.  Paso a Paso, however, provides integral training and support to a total of 42 children who attend all the activities in Paso a Paso.  On behalf of Paso a Paso, Fundehumac presented Friends of Colombia with a thank you certificate.

Fundehumac offered Colombia Project a thank you certificate for the resources they provide to finance micro-enterprising ventures with the Mothers Heads of Families in Colombia.  Helene Dudley, president of Colombia Project was not present at the ceremony and the certificate was received by Tim Lawler, a Board member of Colombia Project and a representative of the South Florida chapter of returned Peace Corps volunteers in the U.S.

Children of Paso a Paso performed a couple of folk dances and they were joined on the stage by the Mothers Heads of Families and their siblings who sang and celebrated the occasion.

This ceremony represented the essence of the working model of the partnership of Friends of Colombia in the Washington area, Colombia Project in Florida, Magdalena Foundation in Virginia and Fundehumac in Santa Marta, Colombia.  This alliance promotes education at the elementary, high school and college levels and provides work and sustainable employment through micro-enterprise.  This partnership offers a solid, unparalleled opportunity for many needy Colombian families.

We are hopeful that these programs will continue to expand in the coming years so that more families can move forward and integrate themselves into the productive economic growth of the Colombian society.


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